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JCPenney Home Growing

The JCPenney Home Collection is the largest of the company's Big Seven private label brands.

With the addition of the Chris Madden collection across the home business, “We will continue to grow market share, as well as expand the Chris Madden program,” said Ken Hicks, the company's president and chief merchandising officer.

The Home Collection is the largest private label home brand in retailing and should hit more than $2 billion in the next few years, said Charlie Chinni, executive vice president, general merchandises manager.

For the May anniversary launch of the Chris Madden segment of the Home Collection, 1,000 new skus will be introduced. This number, he noted, is not a net gain of sku count but takes into consideration drops of earlier items. New are seven window treatments, seven beds and five furniture collections. The color palette also has been updated.

Specific new product highlights in Chris Madden are a 400-count, cotton-rich solid color sheet program, a spa towel and a matelasse towel.

Some 550 stores in the 1,000 plus chain will have the bedding, and the marketing plan calls for seven “hot spots” for in-store presentation as well as six pages in the company's mailers and two covers in the preprints. Additionally, Chinni said there will be 10 pages in the newly launched Chris Madden magazine as well as editorial coverage and advertising in major consumer magazines and newspapers.

Penney also is benefiting from the relationship between the retail store business led by Chinni and the direct business which includes catalog and Internet led by John Irvin, said Hicks.

In overall terms, Chinni told the analysts, the company “has more than a 15 percent share of top-of-the-bed business.”

To attract younger customers, Penney has forged an alliance in home textiles with MTV and Seventeen magazine. “There are new retailers talking to this market, and we were under-represented in our assortments.” The company will have these products in its 500 largest stores, Chinni added.

Seasonal business also is under scrutiny in the home world, he said. For fall, the company will have campus shops for back-to-school.

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